Jim Graves is a Catholic writer and editor living in Newport Beach, California. He previously served as Managing Editor for the Diocese of Orange Bulletin, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Orange, California. His work has appeared in the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Cal Catholic Daily and Catholic World Report.
Catholic apologist Matthew Arnold is host of the new Catholic radio program Happy Hour, part of the Virgin Most Powerful radio network (www.virginmostpowerfulradio.org) launched by California apologist Terry Barber. The network features a variety of Catholic programs hosted by prominent Catholic speakers; programs can be listened to live on weekdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Archived shows can be listened to on the show’s website, or viewed on Virgin Most Powerful’s YouTube channel.
Arnold is a Catholic convert who lives in Southern California. He operates the apostolate Pro Multis Media (www.promultismedia.com). His radio program, Happy Hour, discusses a wide range of topics, recent topics have included the liturgy, spirituality, responding to atheism and the New Age movement and scandals in the Church.
You took the anti-Modernism oath on the air, along with everyone else at the station. Can you explain what this is, and why you wanted to do this?
The Oath Against Modernism was instituted on Sept. 1, 1910, by Pope Saint Pius X, who called Modernism the “synthesis of all heresies.” Until the oath was suppressed in 1967, it was required of “all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries” of the Catholic Church. The fact is, the heresy of Modernism, which has wreaked such havoc in the Church over the last century, is still going strong and, in my opinion, the real cause of the current scandals in the Church.
I was inspired by recent events to take the oath myself on the air. So, I asked our spiritual director if it was okay for a lay person to voluntarily take the oath and he answered, yes. When I told Terry Barber about my idea, he immediately suggested that all the hosts take the oath and that we make it available on our website for anyone who would like to join us. I think we’ve struck a chord and the response has been very encouraging. Voluntarily taking the Oath Against Modernism is a way for lay Catholics to demonstrate our fidelity to the constant and unchanging teaching of the Church.
You’ve devoted some recent shows to Church scandals. What are some thoughts you’ve shared?
First, that regardless of persecution from without or infidelity from within, we have Our Lord’s promise that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against His Church. This isn’t the first crisis of faith and morals the Church has weathered, and it probably won’t be the last.
Next, that serious sins, like clerical incontinence, are not caused by Catholic faith and practice, but precisely by abandoning Catholic faith and practice. So, we must be careful how we respond to these situations. Looking at our history, in times of crisis some want to leave the Church, and some want to change the Church – even when it was changes that brought about the crisis in the first place.
But in the end, the thing that finally brings about restoration is fidelity to Christ and the Traditional teaching of His Church. The answer to the crisis lies in my personal holiness. And yours. In other words, the solution to the crisis in the Church is for Catholics—clergy and laity—to be more Catholic.
You’ve mentioned on the air your preference for the Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible, which was produced more than 400 years ago, over more recent translations. Why is this?
When I speak and teach, I typically employ the New American Bible as it is the official translation for the English liturgy and therefore the one with which Catholic Americans are most familiar. But the Bible on my nightstand is the Douay-Rheims.
While the archaic English can be daunting, the Douay is a painstakingly accurate translation of the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome. Why does this matter? Isn’t it better to make the English translation directly from the original languages rather than make a translation of a translation?
Consider this: Jerome’s native tongue was biblical Greek, and he spoke Latin perfectly, and this at a time when they were both living languages. He had access to biblical manuscripts no longer extant and was closer by centuries to the events, customs, idioms and modes of biblical speech than any modern scholar. This is why the Vulgate—a translation—was considered THE Bible by the Catholic Church until very recently. What this means is the Douay gives us an English equivalent of the Bible used by the saints and Doctors of the Church and, therefore, well accords with traditional Catholic doctrine and practice. It also avoids the neutering of pronouns and euphemistic nonsense that make so many modern Scripture versions interpretations rather than translations. Personally, I would rather have an authentic sense of what the inspired author said, than what the forces of the current political correctness think I ought to hear.
What other thoughts would you like to share?
One of the things that makes hosting Happy Hour rewarding is that it resonates with men. This is true of all the programs on Virgin Most Powerful. Of course, we have listeners of both sexes and I would hope that the shows appeal to everyone with a hunger for straight talk and undiluted Catholicism, but I really think that VMPR’s programs are a “missing link” in Catholic media.
One of the great problems of the Church of our day is a lack of participation by laymen. And this is tragic, because studies have shown for decades that the single most important factor in whether a child continues to practice the faith as an adult is “Did dad go to Church?”
But men do not respond to effeminized religion. Real men do not want to be nurtured, they want to be challenged. They do not want to know how you feel but what you think. That is why men are drawn to apologetics. In these troubled times, men are looking for someone to stand up for the teaching of the Church without watering it down. And with few exceptions, that is not what they’re getting, perhaps even less now than when I came into the Church twenty-plus years ago. That is why I am excited about being part of VMPR, because we are the exception and, as a man, I want to be exceptional.
Sum up what people should do if they want to listen to you and the other shows on the network.
Certainly, the place to start is the website. From there you can visit the individual show pages and listen live or access archived shows. That’s one of the great things about being on the internet, because most of our listeners access the podcasts at their convenience.
The shows are also available on Virgin Most Powerful Radio’s YouTube Channel. Again, you can view the shows live or anytime. We are also on Facebook and we have a smartphone app as well. And like everything else, we are just getting started.
You’ve been involved in Catholic radio 20 years. How is it an effective tool for evangelization?
For many people faith is a private thing. They are uncomfortable talking about it. Some are anxious about what other people think. They do not want to be “judged” over the fact that they are even considering Catholicism. Radio offers a discreet way to learn about these things. Internet programs like ours are even more attractive in that sense because they can be accessed on demand. Radio programs are a “foot in the door” for many people to begin their journey of conversion.
What help does Virgin Most Powerful need?
Of course, we are especially thankful for the spiritual support of prayers offered on our behalf. But we are a donor-supported apostolate with on-going needs and the lifeblood of our organization is our monthly donors. Anyone interested in making a one-time donation or becoming a monthly donor may do so on our website, VMPR.org, or by calling Trish at our office: 877-526-2151.
How is Virgin Most Powerful’s programming is different from Catholic radio programming on AM/FM radio?
Naturally, being a Catholic apostolate, you will never hear anything on VMPR that could not be broadcast on traditional radio. In fact, there’s a lot of things they might say that we won’t because Virgin Most Powerful is listener-supported and free from outside pressure regarding our content. In a word, we do not have to be “politically correct” in the sense that term can be applied to religious matters.
Our motto is “clarity with charity” and I believe the candor of our hosts is breath of fresh air to rank-and-file Catholic listeners who are fed up with media that either ignores or dances around their legitimate concerns. Our listeners know that they can count on us to be bold and upfront, without being mean-spirited. So, I think VMPR is also a refreshing change from alternative media that merely criticizes and complains. Finally, I think our listeners appreciate how we consistently look for solutions and ways to take action that are consistent with the authentic vocation of the laity.